Warriors

Why former owner didn't allow Warriors to trade 'most popular player'

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AP

Why former owner didn't allow Warriors to trade 'most popular player'

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday night at 6 p.m. PT, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

In late May 2017, the Hawks hired Travis Schlenk to be their general manager. Schlenk had worked for the Warriors since the 2004-05 campaign, including his final five seasons as assistant GM.

Over the weekend, he was a guest on The Woj Pod, and was asked a specific question about his time with Golden State.

Adrian Wojnarowski: "When you think back to how that team got put together, are there one or two moments where you think, 'Wow, that could have so easily gone the other way, but for good fortune or sound decision-making, we did that?'"

"One instance really stands out in my mind," Schlenk began. "I remember when I first went from the coaching side to the front-office side -- Larry Riley was the GM at the time. He came to me and said, 'Hey, you know I could really use you on the front-office side.' Don Nelson was the head coach. Nellie came and talked to me, and he said, 'Listen, I think you have a great eye for talent. I think you should go work in the front office.'

"And at first, I was taken back. My dream since I was a little kid growing up in Western Kansas in a town of 200 people was to be a coach. And I thought I had a good eye for it with the X's and O's. But my wife and I, we'd just had our first kid and I remember thinking to myself, 'Well there's a lot more stability in the front-office side of things than on the coaching side of things. Maybe I should do this.' So we did it.

"I told Larry -- we were at the hoop summit up in Portland -- I said, 'I'll come do the front-office side with you, but you gotta promise, you know, we'll trade these two guys. We gotta trade these two guys because at the time we didn't have the world's best locker room and we had a young group of guys that we wanted to try to develop.

"And we both agreed that was gonna be our plan and our strategy. Now it took us two years to do it, but we got it done."

OK. Now to the juicy part.

"Back to the original question," Schlenk said. "One moment (that) really changed the course of everything -- there was a trade that we wanted to do. And we were sitting down with the owner at that time, Chris Cohan. And we said we think we should do this trade -- we're getting back two guys, it frees up our cap, it's gonna allow the growth of Steph. And Chris said, 'We can't do that trade. Player X is the most popular player we have, and season-ticket renewals (are) around the corner.'

"And I was just like, you gotta be kidding me. We are gonna make this decision based on who our fans think should be on our team, not the guys that you've hired to put together the team?"

At this point, Woj interjects and says, 'This was the Bucks, right?"

"No, this wasn't the Bucks," Schlenk answered. "I don't want to name the players. So, we didn't do the trade. And then later on we were able to do a trade with that player that brought us Andrew Bogut. And that was obviously a big piece of the championship puzzle.

"As they say, sometimes the best deals you do are the ones you don't do."

Innnnnnnnnnteresting.

So without explicitly revealing the player's name, we all can put on our detective hats and determine that Schlenk had to be referring to ...

... Monta Ellis.

[RELATEDTravis Schlenk shares story from moments before Warriors drafted Steph]

In March 2012, the Warriors traded Ellis, Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh to the Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. Let's just say that neither Brown nor Udoh were considered Golden State's "most popular player." 

In case you forgot, Monta last appeared in an NBA game in April 2017. He was waived three months later, and the Pacers decided to stretch his contract over the subsequent five seasons. So yes, he will make $2,245,400 each year through the 2021-22 campaign.

Finally, the obvious follow-up thought/question to Schlenk's comments is: Who was the other player he wanted to trade?

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

NBA players 'enjoy' Steph Curry being out, Giannis Antetokounmpo says

NBA players 'enjoy' Steph Curry being out, Giannis Antetokounmpo says

Steph Curry and the Warriors ran roughshod over the NBA for five years, reaching five consecutive NBA Finals and putting together the league’s greatest regular season ever with 73 wins in 2015-16.

The 2019-20 season has not gone quite the same for Golden State, as Curry remains out since suffering a broken hand on Oct. 30. The Warriors now own the league’s worst record at the All-Star break.

It’s safe to say players around the NBA haven’t exactly sympathized with the organization’s precipitous downturn.

"Let me be honest with you," Giannis told reporters Saturday during NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. "The players, we kind of enjoy that he's not playing -- not enjoy that he's hurt. We want him to be healthy, but he just makes it way, way tougher for the rest of the league."

[RELATED: Iguodala opens up about Steph defending him on social media]

It’s not the first time players have publicly stated their appreciation for the Warriors no longer being the unstoppable force they became in the 2010s.

The guard definitely has made life more difficult for defenders over the years, as Curry owns four first-team All-NBA honors as well as the most 3-point field goals among active NBA players.

Curry is aiming to return to the court in early March, and the Warriors will play the Bucks on March 14. Antetokounmpo’s reprieve from facing the two-time MVP might not last much longer, then. 

Why Hawks star Trae Young doesn't mind hearing Steph Curry comparisons

Why Hawks star Trae Young doesn't mind hearing Steph Curry comparisons

If you had a dollar every time someone compared Steph Curry to Trae Young, you'd have a lot of dollars. 

It's an obvious comparison. The Warriors star and the face of the Atlanta Hawks are electric, undersized point guards who can drain shots from just about anywhere on the court. 

Young surely has heard of the similarities countless times, but that doesn't mean he minds the reminder. 

"Who wouldn't want to be compared to MVP and a guy like that," the 21-year-old told reporters Friday ahead of the NBA Rising Stars Challenge. "I don't necessarily get into all that. I don't mind it. I'm glad I'm getting compared to a guy like him than somebody else. It's not a bad thing."

Curry has missed all but four games this season after breaking his left hand a day before Halloween. The two-time MVP will be re-evaluated March 1, and he'll return to the court soon after. 

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard arguably has seized the reigns as the NBA's most ridiculous shot-maker in Curry's absence -- seriously, just look at the Oakland native's game logs since the start of 2020 -- but Young isn't far behind. Young is averaging 29.7 points per game and making 36.9 percent of his 3-point shots. 

[RELATED: Paschall impresses, leads Team USA to Rising Stars win]

He's not quite Curry, of course. The three-time NBA champion has never shot worse than 40 percent from deep in a season in which he played at least 50 games. Curry could retire today as the NBA's fifth-most proficient 3-point shooter (43.5 percent), while Young didn't even cross the 40 percent threshold in his one year at the University of Oklahoma. 

Young's cabinets are missing the hardware that fills Curry's, too. But being mentioned in the same breath at this point in his career? That's more than enough for Young right now.